I was wondering, I met with a priest the other day that was adamently opposed to the term “apologetics”. He said that it was a pre-Vatican II term that is against the Ecumenical aspect of the V II council. I just wanted to start a little apologetics group of parents that met while kids were in school. Is he right? —BMS
No, he is not right. Apologetics is a perfectly fine endeavor for Catholics today. Your group sounds like a great idea. Call it Adult Religious Education and your priest will get onboard. He may be one who does not like the term “apologetics” because of it’s use with evangelizing other Christians, something we are called to do in a loving manner.
With all due respect to Father, he couldn’t be more wrong. Dignitatis Humanae, the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on Religious Freedom, made this decidedly “pre-Vatican II” statement:
“The disciple is bound by a grave obligation toward Christ, his Master, ever more fully to understand the truth received from Him, faithfully to proclaim it, and vigorously to defend it, never—be it understood—having recourse to means that are incompatible with the spirit of the Gospel” (DH, 14).
Apologist Carl Olsen of Envoy Magazine has an article that addresses this very point called “Wanted: Defensive Disciples Catholic apologetics often get shot down by “friendly” fire.” Here is the first paragraph:
"My priest won’t allow apologetic meetings at the parish.” “Our parish council doesn’t want to have apologetic materials in the foyer.” “My Catholic professor says that apologetics are triumphalistic.”
These comments and similar ones aren’t unusual, but I’ve been hearing them more and more lately. “Apologetics,” it seems, is a dirty word among many Catholics. Recently I received an e-mail from a young lady, an avid reader of Envoy, who is working on her M.A. in theology at a Catholic university. Her professor of systematic theology has had a less than enthusiastic response to the influx of former Protestants into the Catholic Church. “When I mention materials, comments, opinions made by well-known Catholic converts,” she writes, “he dismisses them as ‘never really having left their evangelical moorings’ (i.e., they’re not really Catholic).” In addition, she writes that her pastor “says we don’t need apologetics today. He sees that as a roadblock to ecumenism” and believes that “Catholic converts are just a little too fired up for the Faith.”
Sound familiar? The entire article can be found here:
[quote=Franciscanvetek]I was wondering, I met with a priest the other day that was adamently opposed to the term “apologetics”. He said that it was a pre-Vatican II term that is against the Ecumenical aspect of the V II council. I just wanted to start a little apologetics group of parents that met while kids were in school. Is he right? —BMS
I myself have run into a priest who also felt the same. I believe that they do not understand the approach that Apologetics takes in this day and age. Apologetics still accomplishes it’s mission but does so in a very different way. Something to remember is that Canon Law allows any of the Faithful to assemble for the purpose of Spiritual development and support or the formation of an apostolate. Pastors are required to support those individuals and groups and can not attempt to prohibit or suppress them. Unless they are clearly proposing something outside of the teaching of the Catholic Church.
I would suggest that you obtain and read the encyclical addressing The mission of the Lay Faithful in the life of the Church by John Paul II.